An Analysis of Metaphor In Tortilla Flat Novel by John Steinbeck


  • Rara Handayani
  • Diana Chitra Hasan
  • Themmy Thamrin


Metaphor is one of the figurative languages. Metaphor is often found in literary works,
such as novel, poem, and short story. It aims at making the language in literary works more
interesting and it can entertain the readers.In this research, the writer focus on metaphorical
expression found in the novel. Novels are a form of communication in literary works that are
conveyed through language. The novel is a medium that conveys the writer's opinion about
certain phenomena to the reader through a story. Novels are literary works that cannot be
separated from language. The language in the novel has a very high aesthetic value. One of
these aesthetic values is called language style. In certain situations, the reader likes the novel
because of the author, not because of the story in the novel. This certainly becomes a
phenomenon in the world of authorship.Therefore, the purpose of this research are to find the
types of metaphor and meaning of metaphor in Tortilla Flat novel by John Steinbeck.
Metaphors are implicit comparisons without using the words "like" or "as".
Metaphors are based on the same similarity or common features. It can be said that a
metaphor is an expression of comparing one entity with another entity that has the same
characteristics (Ullman 1962: 78). Ullman classifies metaphors into four types such as (1)
anthropomorphic metaphors, (2) animal metaphors, (3) from concrete to abstract metaphors,
and (4) synaesthetic metaphors. Anthropomorphic metaphors are a type of metaphor based on
parts of the human body or human characteristics compared to inanimate objects. Animal
metaphors are a type of metaphor derived from animal characteristics. From concrete to
abstract is a type of metaphor which is the transfer of concrete thing to abstract experience or
from abstract to concrete things. Synaestetic metaphors are metaphors that are based on the
transfer of conception or senses. Metaphors are also expressions where words or concept
phrases are represented through figures of speech for other words or concept phrases.
Metaphors are also expressions where words or concept phrases are represented through
figures of speech for other words or concept phrases.
Thus according to Chatman (1968) who also explained that metaphors can be
understood if there is a comparison between one and the other. However, metaphors are
considered difficult especially in understanding their meaning. This is certainly influenced by
the background of the reader. Nigel Armstrong (2005: 189) states that deep attention is
needed because the comparison is implicitly spoken and often uses imaginary. Furthermore,
the meaning is classified Leech (1981: 9-19) in seven types, namely; (1) conceptual meaning,
(2) connotative meaning, (3) social meaning, (4) affective meaning, (5) reflected meaning, (6)
collocative meaning, and (7) thematic meaning. Conceptual meaning is the meaning
according to the dictionary and logical definition. Connotative meaning is the meaning
emphasized on the purpose of the language being communicated. Social meaning is the
meaning based on the social condition of the use of the language. Affective meaning is the
meaning based on the feelings and attitudes of the speaker / writer towards the listener.
Reflected meaning is the meaning that is emphasized in association with other tastes from the
same expression langguage use. Collocative meaning is emphasized through association with
words that are tend occur in the environment of other words. Thematic meaning is the
meaning that is emphasized from the way how messages are arranged in order and emphasis.
This research employed descriptive qualitative research. The data in this research are
Tortilla Flat novel by John Steinback based on Ullman and Leech’s theories. The technique
of collecting data is done by (a) reading the novel, (b) identifying the data which contain
metaphor, (c) grouping the words or sentences which contain metaphor, (d) classifying the
data based on the types and meanings of metaphor, and then (e) putting all the collected data
in the table. The technique of analyzing the data is done by (a) collecting data, (b) analyzing
data that are types and meanings of metaphor, (c)giving explanations and (d) drawing
The result of this study are divided into two parts, types and meanings of metaphor.
the writer found out that there are four types of metaphor found in Tortilla Flat novel by John
Steinbeck. The types of metaphor are anthropomorphic, animal, from concrete to abstract,
and synaesthetic metaphor. The writer found all of the types of metaphor proposed by Ullman.
The writer found seventeen anthropomorphic metaphors, nine animal metaphors, twenty one
from concrete to abstract metaphors and three synaesthetic metaphors. The writer only found
that there are three meanings of metaphor found in the data.The meanings of metaphor are
social meaning, affective meaning, and reflected meaning. The writer found eleven meanings
on social meaning, thirty one on affective meaning and eight on reflected meaning.After that,
the writer found out that the metaphor is influenced by metaphorical concept, the topic, image,
and point of similarity.The writer found the topic in every data but not the image and the
point of similarity. The writer draws the metaphorical concept that some of the image are
stated implicit and the point of similarity is not stated.
Keywords: Metaphor, Topic, Image, Synaesthethic

Author Biography

Rara Handayani

Jurusan Sastra Asia Timur